Linthicum: Where the sidewalk problems don't end

March 07, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

How bad is the sidewalk and curb problem in Linthicum? Bad enough to send Charles Smith, 86, sprawling over a chunk of cement that stuck up like a volcanic eruption a block from his home in the 100 block of North Hammonds Ferry Road.

"It was a bad fall," remembered Mr. Smith, who suffered a broken right arm and bloody nose in the spill about a year ago.

The sidewalks are so bad that the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association has been trying to get the county to do something for about two years, said Gerald Starr, president of the improvement association.

"It's been a slow process," he said. "It's bureaucratic red tape basically. You would think somebody would take the bull by the horns."

There have been some improvements, however. Last fall, the county laid down new sidewalk in the 100 blocks of North and South Hammonds Ferry Road, near Mr. Smith's home.

But elsewhere curbs have crumbled away. In some places, sidewalks are five inches lower than the roadway. Others are level with the road. And in other places, sidewalks completely disappear.

The sidewalks on Cleveland Road are cracked and crooked because the pressure from tree roots has pushed them up, said Marshall Davis, 82.

Last summer, he spent $2,000 to hire a private contractor to fix his front walk. A few of his neighbors did the same, he said.

He said he enjoys taking walks with his wife Shirley, 74. But when they do, they take to the streets. "We're not going to walk on a broken sidewalk and risk tripping and falling," he said.

"They have a very legitimate grievance, and it's something we view as very important," said Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus, who lives in Linthicum and owns a pharmacy on Cleveland and Hammonds Ferry roads.

Sometimes, plows push snow up onto the sidewalk because the curb is gone. "They're just crushed right down to the bare bones," said Mr. Sophocleus. "There's nothing there."

The situation has gotten so bad that Walter N. Chitwood, III, the county's chief administrative officer, and Gorham Black, his deputy, met with members of Anne Arundel's state house delegation to discuss the curb and sidewalk problem in Linthicum, said Mr. Sophocleus.

County officials agreed to survey the curbs and sidewalks when the weather breaks, to help gauge the cost of repairs. "The problem, as you well know, is money to do all this," said Mr. Black.

Del. Victor A. Sulin said delegation members may submit a bond bill requesting state funds if the county can not afford to fund the repairs. The bill must be filed by March 18 to be considered by the House Appropriations Committee, he said.

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